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I Remember Monty


I’ve decided to become more selective about what information I choose to retain and what I allow my brain to dump.
I say this in light of an incident that occurred this weekend. We were out to dinner with friends, all of us approximately the same age. Someone mentioned a line from the Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life, which led to Python-esque quotes from the rest of their movies as well as the television show. While we’re laughing and quoting in truly hideous British accents, my friend Karen asked, very innocently, “Who’s Monty Python?”
The entire table went silent. Even her husband Michael looked at her with incredulity. Then we all began trying our best to jog her memory. We sang The Lumberjack Song. We reenacted the Dead Parrot skit. At some point I shrieked, “Shrubbery!”
Now here’s the thing: Karen is an intelligent, successful, happily-married woman. We’ve both reached our “women of a certain age” years in good health and she’s managed to do it with style too. Karen is my mentor in the sports involving purebred dogs and she does this with a tact and grace that I would be hard pressed to maintain with a klutz like me.
And she’s done all this without knowing about the Upper Class Twit of the Year or Conrad Poos and His Dancing Teeth.
So it seems that knowing about Monty Python’s Flying Circus has not been necessary to my reaching this point in my own life. And I know a lot of stuff like that.
So now I’m thinking that perhaps instead of remembering every lyric of every Beatle song in existence I should have retained more calculus. At least some calculus.
I wish I had memorized my grandmother’s recipe for stuffed breast of veal rather than how to do the Lindy Hop. The trouble with knowing how to do the Lindy is that the Lindy is a dance requiring your partner to know how to do it too. How many men do you know who can Lindy? See what I mean? But my grandmother’s stuffed breast of veal? Holy. Mother. Of. God.
I wish I could remember to buy my friends’ birthday cards before I reach the actual day and end up sending a lame e-mail card or one of those “belated birthday” cards. I really don’t need to remember the birthdate of every pet I’ve ever owned, even the turtle. If it’s any consolation to my friends, I only remember the birthdate of the turtle on the actual day too.
As impressive a feat as it may be, there really is no value in knowing the capital of every state in the United States by memory. I didn’t know this when I was a homeschooling mom and, therefore, resorted to songs that taught this information via a cassette tape. Consequently, when these state capitals come into the conversation, my sons burst into song. This is only normal is you are part of the cast of Oklamoma! Otherwise it’s just. . . . wrong. I should have done a file dump on the state capitals long ago.
So from now on, I’m going to be very careful about what I decide to retain. I know you organized people will suggest I “write things down.” But this only works if you are genetically predisposed toward listmaking. Because when you make a list you have to remember to make the list, maintain the list, know where the list is and, when the time comes, look at the list. Too much brain surface required. I’d rather just dump the names and birth sequence of the entire Brady Bunch and remember that 12 Christmases ago I replaced my brother’s White Album with the White Album CD and I don’t need to do that anymore.
In the meanwhile, we’ll work on Karen, who followed up by asking “What is a Pink Floyd?”

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 8:11 AM | Permalink

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